Tuesday, 16 November 2010

‘The Walking Dead’ (Part 1)

If you haven’t been reading the comics, or you’re even slower than I am at getting to watch the TV show, then there’s probably going to be a couple of spoilers lurking in here. You might want to consider that before diving in...

Still here? Good...

Robert Kirkman’s ‘The Walking Dead’ is quite frankly an awesome piece of comic book fiction, pulling no punches in showing us just what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a full on zombie apocalypse. There aren’t many books that make me gasp and go “Oh, f...!” ‘The Walking Dead’ does this frequently and that’s why I’ll be there until the bitter end.
When I heard that there was going to be a TV adaptation... Well, you should have seen the little dance I did up and down the stairs followed by the ‘zombie lurch’ to the kitchen. Normally I’d be a little concerned about my favourite books getting the TV treatment but not this time. Speaking as a fan, ‘The Walking Dead’ is so great that it would be practically impossible to screw up on the small screen. You would have thought, wouldn’t you...?

You thought right, the first episode was nothing short of enthralling and has me feeling that good things are assured for the rest of the episodes.

Sherriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes is shot in the line of duty and wakes up to find that a lot has changed while he was in hospital. Everyone else seems to have vanished for a start, apart from the half eaten corpse on the floor... It soon becomes apparent that the dead have returned to eat the living, all Rick is concerned about is finding his wife and son but is Atlanta really the place to find them or will he find something else waiting for him?

The first thing that struck me was how quiet this episode was. You can have as much wreckage strewing the landscape as you like but it’s the background noise that really lets you know what’s gone down; it’s really quiet because there’s no-one left. This almost complete absence of noise really sucked me in and when something did happen I jumped all the more. That’s not to say the producers didn’t do a good job with the landscape though with scenes like the outside of the hospital and all the abandoned cars heading out of the city really setting the right tone. Zombies are zombies wherever you go so there weren’t exactly any surprises in how they looked. They were used effectively though. As is the case in the book, it’s not so much about the zombies as it is the characters and how they deal with the zombies.

Andrew Lincoln does a great job as Rick, maybe a little darker than the ‘Rick in the book’ but it still works. There isn’t a lot for him to say (he’s on his own for large chunks of the episode) but you really get a sense of the determination that’s driving Rick on and how nothing’s going to stop him. The real star of the piece for me though was  Lennie James as Morgan Jones, the father who is hiding out in Rick’s neighbour’s place. The moment where he’s sat upstairs looking through the sight on his gun is heartbreaking...

The ending, in Atlanta, deviates from the book a little but the cliff hanger it leaves us more than makes up for that. You would not believe how much I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the next episode (even though I know how it’s going to go)!

8 comments:

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

I'm loving the series so far and now I think I better pick up the graphic novels. :)

Graeme Flory said...

You really need to :o) One thing I will say is that my reading the graphic novels hasn't spoiled the show for me at all, even though I know how it's all going to go down...

noothergods32 said...

Loved the graphic novels, they were awesome. I didn't know there was a tv series...very exciting.

Kelly aka yllektra(force-oblique) said...

It's fantastic show!!!
i am totally loving it! :P

Kelly @ I work For Books

Carmen said...

I'm desperate to see this! Curse only having Freeview! Don't watch enough telly to justify Sky though but it means I'm sat here chewing my nails watching everyone else enjoying stuff like this. Hopefully we'll get it eventually.

MUST put the graphic novels on my wishlist. Will go do that now while I remember.

Celine said...

The second episode is even better!! You know I'm just as big a Walking Dead nerd as you are and I was actually stuffing my jumper into my mouth with nerves watching it! AWESOME.

Graeme Flory said...

Celine - A mate of mine is recording this for me so I'm lagging behind everyone else here... I'm not lagging behind on the graphic novel front though. Guess who's getting an advance copy of vol.13? Oh yes, that would be me :o)

Celine said...

*dies of envy*